Social work and open design. Introduction

The evolution of the principles of motivation and stimulation in the development of information systems and other high-tech products - is developing. In addition to classical ones, i.e. purely monetary-capitalist forms, alternative forms have long been present and are increasingly popular. Half a century ago, the IBM giant, as part of its Share program, called for a free exchange of applications for its mainframes developed by third-party programmers (not for charitable reasons, but this does not change the essence of the program).

Today: social entrepreneurship, crowdsourcing, “Writing a code together” (“Social Coding”, GitHub and other social networks for developers), various forms of licensing freeware \ Open Source projects, exchange of ideas and free exchange of knowledge, technologies, programs.

A new format of interaction “Social Labor and Open Design” and the concept of its information resource (site) are proposed. We meet a new start up (if it is really new). The formula of the proposed approach: networking, co-working, open innovation, co-creation, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, scientific labor organization, standardization and unification, typification of solutions, activity and non-financial motivation, free exchange of experience and best practices copyleft, Open Source, freeware and all-all-all.

1 Environment and scope

Consider the formats: charity, classic business, socially responsible business (classic entrepreneurship with charity), social entrepreneurship (socially oriented entrepreneurship).

With business and charity - it’s extremely clear.

A socially responsible business is based on a crude and not always true (there are exceptions), but an extremely clear example: when an oligarch, having gathered the population of his city (country), ennobled a small city square, first of course, having bought a couple of castles and luxury yachts, a sports team etc.

Or created a charity fund (possibly with the goal of optimizing the taxes of his business).
Social entrepreneurship - as a rule, this is a “subsidized business” focused on solving the problems of socially disadvantaged residents: orphans, large families, pensioners, and disabled people.

Despite the fact that “socially oriented entrepreneurship” primarily pursues charity, and already in the second it brings income, large Russian social entrepreneurship funds were also created with funds (target capital) of the oligarchs. Often, social entrepreneurship is distinguished from charity as self-financing, so in general, it is also a business (entrepreneur = businessman).

Some on Habré claim that Social entrepreneurs give business a human face.
There you can see examples of projects.

“Social work and open design” - or STOP - professes a slightly different philosophy. This format is for those who are not only ready to help others, but also want to organize their activities and the activities of others (the whole society) as efficiently as possible.

This project aims to maximize efficiency in education and production through teamwork (collectivization), open design (public project management), standardization and unification of design solutions, development of concepts and building universal base platforms on them, replication of standard projects and borrowing best solutions (practices) instead of the constant “invention of the bicycle”, i.e. reuse of the achievements of others.

At the initial stage of this movement, it is supposed to conduct development on a voluntary basis: real socially useful acts usually involve social principles. The movement is based on approaches:

x-working (co-working, etc.), x - sourcing (crowdsourcing, etc.), attracting both expert altruists (professional developers) and novice specialists (students) to projects "Mass and craftsmanship is the motto ...". An important component is the scientific organization of labor.

The concept of “Social work and open design” - can be applied in various areas of public life, however here we restrict ourselves to the field of IT. Therefore, the STOP branch in relation to IT (automation) is further called STOP: STOP project on IT topics. Although this is a conditional division, because, for example, management technologies for managing projects and processes are considered to be “IT”, they are used not only in automation projects.

There are similar forms, for example, the Greenhouse of Social Technologies is a public educational project aimed at developing cooperation between the nonprofit sector and IT specialists.

However, STOP - focuses on any IT-oriented "supply and demand". STOPIT is not only an educational project, it is not only “cooperation between the non-profit sector and IT-specialists” and other “not only”.

Social work and open design is an IT greenhouse of a new type of social entrepreneurship, where the term “entrepreneurship” is better replaced by “activities”.

2 The concept of "Social work and open design" and motivation


The STOPIT IT greenhouse concept includes three roles: Customer, Intermediary, Contractor. The customer forms a “demand”, more precisely - asks and formalizes “what needs to be done”. Customer - any company or individual who wants to solve a specific task facing him. In this case, something to automate.

The contractor forms a “proposal”, i.e. notifies "what is he ready to do." The Contractor is a company, a group of developers or just a developer who is ready in the general case - “on a voluntary basis” (free of charge) to solve a problem for the Customer.

A mediator is an entity that links “demand” and “supply” and controls the solution of a problem, the satisfaction of both the Customer and the Contractor. The satisfaction of the Contractor itself is also important, as it is in the general case of work "on a voluntary basis." Instead of the principle: “Money for the work was received, but the grass does not grow there”, in this case, a factor starts to work, in which the Contractor is interested in introducing his product through non-financial motivation. And this is sometimes "more expensive than money."

By the way, the STOPIT technology easily defeats another misfortune of the modern IT structure: if the Customer is satisfied, then the implementation project is considered successful despite the objective parameters for matching the design solution to the bed problem. In our case, public control will reveal such a situation, and a public assessment of the success of the implementation project will not be based on the popular principle “you don’t need to think about the quality of the project if you and the Customer sleep with the same salad,” but on the invoice.

2.1 Customer Motivation

One always wants to get for free or “almost free” - an automation system for which there is no money or “it is not clear which one to choose”, because “Every seller praises his goods” (even if the goods are useless). For many, the price tag for IT projects has become unbearable. Where can I get simple standard solutions of the Open Source \ freeware class and an inexpensive resource for their implementation and subsequent maintenance?

Sometimes one-time tasks are required or the task is to check "whether it is necessary", "how it works in principle." For example, the company does not have a project office, but I want to understand how the project would go if it were available. On a voluntary basis, an “external project manager” (project administrator) is involved, for example, a student or freelancer.

Within the framework of the STOPIT concept, the Customer receives a ready-made solution to his problem with a source code, a free license, the possibility of replication, a conceptual study of the solution architecture, and a documented code. As part of the discussion of implementation, he was able to see alternative solutions and make his own choice (agree with the choice).

There is hope that the proposed approach will provoke the following situation: if several organizations need to solve a similar problem (both require the same product), it is advisable to make joint efforts to develop a standard solution (or platform) and solve the problem on its basis, i.e. together they took it, made a basic decision together, and then each independently general approach was customized for itself (adapted).

Crowdfunding variation is possible or just the option of working together on one task according to the principles: “one head is good, two is better” or through forced cooperation such as: I will help you with your project, and you will help me with mine, because you have competencies in mine, and in my project.

A set of requirements is presented to the Customer, but so far we are not considering them (basically the requirement to disclose the implementation history, open maintenance of the bug tracker, etc.)

2.2 Contractor Motivation

The base class of Contractors, in any case, at the beginning of the development of STOPIT, is supposed to include student project groups. It is important for the student: to work on a real practical task, to get practical experience, to see that his achievements did not go to the trash, but are actually used (they are exploited and bring people benefits).

Perhaps it is important for the student to draw up a work book (record the experience), write real projects (“successful history” right from the first year of the university) in his portfolio, etc.
Perhaps the freelancer wants to include the implementation of this particular project (this company) in his portfolio and is ready to work for free.

If necessary, the Intermediary can organize operational control or allocate an experienced mentor to ensure a higher quality of solving the problem by the forces of novice designers. At the same time, the motive of the student or the same freelancer can be based solely on the work on the project with the participation of a “famous guru” assigned to this project.

Thus, Artists are not necessarily altruists and philanthropists, although professional developers will more likely fall under this definition. It is advisable to use the latter within the framework of STOPIT as a team of mentors (consultants) or chief designers or to engage in the implementation of "exemplary projects" that enhance the image of a specific STOPIT project site.

Universities participating in STOPIT will be able to better understand the real problems that their graduates will have to solve. The Contractors themselves can subsequently be hired to accompany their own developments (programs). The Fund can organize contests and encourage the most active Contractors (Universities), including through a special fund of donations from the Customers themselves, who will donate “for joy” from a free but extremely effective tool (program) for them.

In general, for a student, “happiness No. 1” is when he already solves practical problems at the institute, i.e. not fictional, but real (even if he doesn’t bring them to the end or does only a piece of the big task). “Happiness No. 2” - when his project really came in handy in life (was introduced), i.e. his work “was not thrown into the dustbin” immediately after the project was defended. And what if, in addition to this, there is a little material motivation?

And not necessarily in cash: the incentive fund may consist of vacancies for internships, studies (advanced training), other prepaid services of an educational or non-educational nature.

The net position of “altruist-philanthropist” must also find itself in STOP. The egoist is for himself, the altruist is for people. Misanthrope is a hater, philanthropist is a philanthropist. Altruists and philanthropists act for the good of society, putting other people's interests above their own. Both love humanity and help it. This is a powerful resource, but has not yet found itself in large IT projects.

2.3 Design student teams - the hope of the national scientific and technological revolution

I emphasize that not only project student teams are considered as Executors for STOPIT projects, but they have a special hope for the scientific and technological revolution (STR). The existing isolation of the educational process from production, the lack of understanding by the teaching staff of the concrete practical problems of production is the trouble of modern Russian education. In the USSR, for a more “deeper immersion” of students in production, they came up with the basic departments of educational institutes at enterprises and research institutes.

Today, some still remain, but the expected “Big Result” has not been, and is not.
By “Big Result” I mean something “open and big, i.e. socially useful on a planetary scale. " Like Western institutes, for example, the “X windows system” display server, developed in 1984 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the whole area of ​​MIT licensing.

Our students are also incapable of such tricks: A police car on the dome of The Great Dome building

Perhaps you need to change the very concept of higher education, for example, remake it in a Western manner: combine educational institutions with research centers. This may lead to a reproach that all the achievements of MIT and the like should be attributed to innovation centers at institutes, but in any case, our research institutes cannot boast of anything like that.

In such a concept, STOPIT can be considered as a “temporary patch” until the state “wakes up” and remembers the need to revive higher education.
STOP can serve as a springboard for scientific and technological progress. In any case, revolutions - both in education and in approaches to the design and implementation of automation systems: open design, borrowing, standardization, unification, the formation of open standards for building systems, system architectures, framework, etc.

In any case, laboratory research and practical skills, and even more successful (and even “not so”) implementations, right from the first courses, are the key to quality education.
In the meantime, we have to sadly read this:
I am a 2nd year student of the university, I study in the specialty Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, and quite successfully, I get an increased scholarship. But, one day, I realized that what I was being taught began to burden me and, subjectively, of course, became more and more dull and monotonous. A little later, the idea arose, why not implement any of your projects, get fame and money (the latter is doubtful of course). But. I don’t know if I am alone with such a problem, at least on the Internet I didn’t dig anything, but I can’t decide what exactly I’ll do. The department dismissed it, they said that it was research ...

Of course, I do not ask for ready-made ideas, I ask for an answer to the question: how can I come to this myself?
Student IT projects. Lack of ideas?

Suggestion to teachers: Why should students of IT specialties be “loaded” with unrealistic (invented) tasks? Maybe you need to ask friends what kind of IT projects they have at the enterprise, what needs to be done, what task to solve. Next, divide the task into parts and offer it to the whole group in the form of diploma / term papers with a “cutting” of tasks according to decomposition. The resulting solution can be shown to friends: maybe they will refuse SAP \ SAS, etc. and choose student work on the Open Source \ copyleft engine?

For example, the implementation of "SAP \ SAS, etc." in some cases can be on the principle of "from a gun on sparrows", i.e. a simpler solution would be suitable for solving the problem, in addition, the cost-effectiveness of introducing such monsters is almost always negative: therefore, often the feasibility studies for such implementations are not done at all, much less published.

Even if acquaintances say “no,” then simply publish your decision and comparison with a competing product - perhaps there is someone who will choose your solution, if it is certainly competitive. All this can be done without a stop.

2.4 Selected Success Factors

The key motion vector should be based on the following:

A) Open. Programs should be open source and well documented. At the same time, in addition to documenting the code and documenting the logic (algorithm), preferably, in one of the graphical notations (BPMN, EPC, UML, etc.). "Open" - there is source code and it doesn’t matter in which environment the project was created and which language is used: Visual Basic or Java.

B) Free. Many people want to do something socially useful and meaningful, open and replicated (multi-useful): for many to come in handy and they, at least, say Thank you very much.

Although some people want “much more” than just “Thank you,” for example, by specifying the THE BURGER-WARE LICENSE license (sarcasm tag) directly in their program code:
Sub insertPicture (...
' <> wrote this code. As long as you retain this notice you
'can do whatever you want with this stuff. If we meet some day, and you think
' this stuff is worth it, you can buy me a burger in return. ;-) xxx
####### ###########
License “THE BURGER-WARE LICENSE” - may become a visiting card of the STOPIT project. The Donationware (humorware) family is large: Beerware, Pizzaware ...

B) First of all , select mass tasks. The priority should be tasks that have not specific, but general application: “tasks of mass demand”, solved through a universal open platform (possibly with subsequent customization if necessary).

D) Watch "broadly" and make not only programs, but also standards: standardization and development of an industry standard solution. Priority should be decisions (programs, approaches), which, in addition to the implementation example, contain elements of standardization. For example, the Contractor offers a standard solution and shows how to adapt it to a specific task. As a result, the emphasis is on mass circulation (repeated repetition on the basis of a standard solution - as an alternative to “inventing a bicycle”). Standardization, unification and exchange of experience, as opposed to: a “closed and unique solution” (“keep the customer on the hook”), coercion to the sole provider of the software solution (vendor).

2.5 Role of the Mediator

The role of the Intermediary - the organizer (operator) of a separate STOPPIT site is as follows (in blocks).

Project office: the formation of a portfolio of orders and groups of performers (resource pool). Collection of orders, the formation of a resource of Contractors. Monitoring the status of projects (Initiation, Development, etc.).

Business analyst. Primary business analysis. Initial study of tasks, an attempt to formulate a common task that would be of interest to a wider circle of customers.

Guarantor. Guarantee of the fulfillment of the contract. For example, the Contractor may stipulate the receipt of an act on the implementation of the system (upon successful implementation) or posting on the company’s website where its decision was implemented, articles (news indicating the Contractor) on the implementation (it does not matter what content: positive or critical).

The guarantor can, on the basis of the principle of "alienating the developer from his product," guarantee the Customer that he will always find a support team for this project, for example, if the Contractor refuses to support his own implementation or from introducing his own software product.

There are many other points (details), for example, hiding the name of the Customer’s company in the first stages of design. This is necessary so that spam from the offers of competitors is not sprinkled to the Customer - according to an alternative system “for money” (with shouts: “free cheese only in a mousetrap”). If the Customer is ready to pay a symbolic amount to the Contractor, the Intermediary acts as an intermediary in mutual settlements. Details should be indicated in the charter of a specific project or the charter of a specific STOPIT site.

PR Advertising activity: letters to administration and student forums, mass media - initiation and involvement in the project, promotion on the Internet.

OTK. Implementation control. The intermediary can take on individual projects preliminary tests of the implemented system. After implementation, organize monitoring of the process and conduct an audit.

The Mediator can manage the Mentors, i.e. if there is a resource, experts will connect them to the project for mentoring.

The Intermediary may organize contests, bonuses, etc. to increase the motivation of the Contractors. There is much that can be added: this is determined by the capabilities (resources) of the Intermediary.

2.6 Some effects of the implementation of the proposed project

To engage students with the solution of real applied problems. Ideally (in the future), we should introduce a Western approach in our institutes when groups of students create an industry standard, an open system / framework widely used to build final industrial systems.

To increase the level of standardization of the development of information systems: standard design, standard solutions, elaboration of a single conceptual solution and building several implementations on its basis, for example, on different CMS, DMS, wiki engines, etc. implement the standard for constructing such and such a system, i.e. formation of industry standards for solving an applied problem.

Create platforms combining supply and demand, and the task will be either untalented or at a symbolic price, as well as various incentive options, for example, when a company takes the winner student for technical support of his program with or without salary payment practice).

In the future, it is possible to create platforms for the next generation based on the principles of openness, standardization, crowdfunding, but when only the project itself is paid and its replication is donated to the public, i.e. the public, including any company and person, can use it for free. Moreover, the company on the trading floor will determine for itself what it first needs and to whom to give this project (development “for money”).

3 Three Whales of Social Work and Open Design

A) Collaboration technologies

Networking (in relation to STOP)

Net - network + work - work. This is a social and professional activity aimed at using a circle of friends, acquaintances (including acquaintances through social networks or professional forums), and colleagues to build trustful and long-term relationships with people and provide mutual assistance.

Networking is the basis for establishing friendly and business relations with new people (partners). In essence, networking is the formation of a circle of communication and the desire to discuss their own problems with others, offering their services (tips, consultations in forums). All social networks are based on it.

It is important to believe in Networking and not be afraid to ask others for solutions to the problem, ask them to solve your problem, and also offer their knowledge and help to others.Co-working

In a broad sense - an approach to the organization of work of people with different occupations in a common space; in the narrow - a similar space, a collective (distributed) office, in our case, the STOPPIT site. This is the organization of infrastructure for joint work under the STOPIT projects.

Someday STOPIT physical coworking will probably appear, but so far this is only the STOPIT virtual site (Internet resource). We will not only exchange experiences and ideas with everyone, which will increase productivity and help in finding non-trivial solutions to problems, but also work on a single platform using common tools (for example, design systems, emulators, virtual test benches).

While the topic of STOPIT virtual workspaces has not been worked out, it will include at least virtual offices (remote office workplaces, including word \ excel, etc., or their analogues, facts, communications, etc.), as well virtual IT laboratories and stands "shared" for experiments and tests (shared virtual machines with specialized software, VM images with pre-installed frameworks, etc.).

Upon completion of each project, its virtual stand will be archived and will be available for redeployment to any STOPIT participant, i.e. not only working and operational documentation for the project will be available, but also a working information system itself.

STOPIT takes a lot from crowdsourcing: in fact, projects are outsourced to the public, an open call is made to the public, in which the organization requests (asks) solutions from the “crowd”.

Open design technologies, public project management (in fact, like on the “What, where, when” program), crowdsourcing, co-creation, open innovation are well-known terms that can be easily found on the Internet, for example, Open Innovation vs Crowdsourcing vs Co-creation .

B) Scientific organization of labor

NOT - as a process of improving the organization of labor on the basis of the achievements of science and best practices - is a very broad concept. In the general case, these are mechanization and automation, ergonomics, rationing, time management and a host of other things.

We will limit the directions:

  • free exchange of knowledge and best practices;
  • unification and standardization;
  • widespread use of Best Practices, both industry-specific and Best Management Practices.
  • Unification and standardization, borrowing already done, a reference to standard solutions.

You do not need to reinvent the wheel every time, you just need to repeat it. If we solve a problem, then it is advisable to propose a solution that will be universal and will allow the solution of similar problems ("two birds with one stone").

Best practice. Examples of industry Best Practices, for example, from IT: ITSM, ITIL, COBIT. Examples of Best Management Practices: from design, this is PMBOK-PRINCE; BOKs from the field of systems / software engineering; BIZBOK \ VAVOK, as well as numerous lean-shaped techniques for "all occasions."

It is important to understand here that the goal is not to “choose the best of numerous Best Practice” (many alternative approaches). It is proposed not to invent new approaches to project management, new ways of designing systems, etc., but first read Best Practice and borrow as much as possible from them. Although someday one of the STOPIT projects I hope will be the revision of the existing “eminent” Best Practice or the creation of a new one, for example, BOK for the STOPIT project itself.

C) The principles of an active life position

it-pioneers, activists, volunteers, altruists and “all-all-all” who want to do something useful: both “very” socially useful (large-scale useful) and useful only to a small company, i.e. someone to automate anything on a voluntary basis.

Social entrepreneurs, altruists and philanthropists have a social responsibility in terms of making IT projects more accessible, replicable and massive, the desire to involve a large number of participants in the development of information systems, to make domestic systems more high-quality and not inferior to Western ones. Approximately, as "Mass and craftsmanship are the motto of Soviet sport", i.e. "Mass and craftsmanship is the motto of the domestic it-structure."

It’s enough, under the guidance of a small number of experienced comrades, to send a large army of “students eager for knowledge and their application in practice” and everyone (beginner engineers and programmers) to carry out practical tasks with direct implementation and subsequent development support. Development (product) implies the above principles: openness, universality of application, standardization of solutions, including concept development (ontology), free replication (copyleft).


Of course, a lucky IT student in the senior years of the institute can get an internship at a large IT company, there are beautiful stories about students, especially Western ones, for example, Stanford (K. Sistrom, M. Zuckerberg), there are domestic platforms for start-ups, hackathons, student contests such as “People need you,” job fairs, youth forums such as BreakPoint, social entrepreneurship funds (Rybakov, etc.), projects like Preactum, contests, for example, the competition of articles “Social entrepreneurship through the eyes of students”, "Project 5-100" and "heel ki ", tens, and perhaps hundreds of similar, but a revolutionary effect in our country, all this is not provided, neither a revolution in business or in education or scientific-technical revolution. Domestic education, science and production are degrading, and with giant steps. To turn the tide, radical methods are needed. There were no radical and really effective measures “from above”.

It remains to try the "bottom" and engage the enthusiasm and activity of those who care.

Is the proposed format of an IT greenhouse of a new type of social entrepreneurship capable of this: Social labor and open design? The answer can only be given by trying it in action.

If the idea interests you - create your own STOP - resource: the proposed concept is distributed under Copyleft - under the license “THE BURGER-WARE LICENSE”. In each university, such a platform would be useful. See you at your site STOP.

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